SOFTBALL: Panthers beat Spartans by 10, invoke run rule

Umpires call the game early after the Porterville Panthers pull ahead of the Strathmore Spartans by 10 runs in fifth inning

PORTERVILLE – After a pitching change the Porterville Panthers picked up the energy to score eight runs in one inning and beat the Strathmore Spartans 12-2.

The umpires declared the Panthers the winners in the fifth inning of their game against the Spartans on Tuesday, March 7 after the Panthers pulled ahead by 10 runs. Despite getting up 3-2 in the first inning, the Panthers had a slow start against the Spartans and didn’t score again until the fourth inning while holding the Spartans to the two runs they got in the first.

After bringing in a new pitcher, the Panthers found renewed energy. Then in the bottom of the fifth, the Panthers scored nine runs to pull ahead by 10 and the umpires called the end of the game with a score of 12-2.

“We should have run ruled them a lot earlier in the game,” Porterville head coach Maddie Emerson said. “We had to wake up a little bit towards the end.”

The Panthers found their stride after bringing in a new pitcher in the fourth inning. Sophomore Klarissa Manriquez came in to relieve junior Priscilla Gomez at the top of the fourth. Manriquez immediately tightened up play for the Panthers and got the first three batters out without allowing anyone on base. After the first three innings dragging on, the change of pace energized the Panthers as they went up to bat.

When the Panthers came up to bat, they scored one run in the fourth before ending the inning. Up until the fifth inning, it seemed as if it would be a low-scoring game. Manriquez made quick work of the Spartans in the top of the fifth and then the Panthers got to work on offense. The Spartans faltered on defense and the Panthers had little trouble getting on base. Allowing only one out, the Panthers scored nine runs before the umpires called the game based on the run rule also known as the mercy rule.

“I was very surprised that we stood in there for at least those four innings,” Strathmore head coach Martin Hernandez said. “We played really well.”

The general rule in softball for calling a game early varies by inning. A game may be called early if a team is ahead by 15 runs after three innings, 12 runs after four innings or 10 runs after five innings. In this case, the game was called as soon as Porterville pulled ahead by 10 runs without the inning even finishing.

The Spartans are 1-4 so far this season, but Hernandez is optimistic about his team. Many players on the roster have never played softball before and only two play travel ball. They have a lot of room for improvement as the season goes on. Their next opponent will be Kennedy on March 8.

The Panthers are 6-1-1 this season and Emerson is looking forward to continuing to collect wins on their record. Most importantly, she wants the players to have fun this season and make memories as a team. They will face Sanger at home on March 9.

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